Monday, December 16, 2013

Quick Sips: Flying Fish Exit 16 Wild Rice Double IPA

“What exit?” is a New Jersey thing, so it’s fitting that New Jersey’s largest craft brewery, Flying Fish, has a whole series of beers devoted to New Jersey Turnpike exits. For a brewery that has largely leaned on drinkable takes on traditional beer styles, the Exit series has been their opportunity to experiment with things that are a little more offbeat, almost always with a New Jersey twist.

Perhaps that's why it has also resulted in their very best beers.

Previously one-time beers only available in 750ml bottles, a few of those Exit beers have now made their way to six-packs. Exit 16 is one of them, a beer that sounds odd when you name it but one that tastes so right when you have it. This is a wild rice Double IPA – and yes, it’s actually brewed with rice. If that brings to mind tasteless macro lagers, set your fears aside. This is a complex yet utterly drinkable beer that gives off aromas of citrus and tangerine, and drinks far easier than an 8% IPA should drink. It has all the flavor of a great DoubleIPA, but with a softness on the palate that really makes it stand out, with subtle notes of brown grain behind the bright, orangy citrus. It's maybe the second best thing to come out of Jersey (after pork roll, egg and cheese, of course).

If you love IPAs, you simply HAVE to try this.

Portions of this piece originally appeared in the Philadelphia Weekly and are reprinted here with permission.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Quick Sips: Ommegang Hennepin

It sounds ridiculous to someone who has never had the experience, but there are beers that can capture places and times in ways that few others things can.

Ever step out onto a grassy field or fresh farmland and been invigorated by the lush, clean, Earthy smell of the air? That’s Hennepin (a beer I have touched on before). It’s made by Ommegang, America’s best brewers of Belgian styles – though that’s kind of cheating, what with being owned by Duval and all – and it is one of the definitive examples of the elusive saison style. Saison is a broad category, but the basics are that they tend to be pale, musty, and have some herbal spice kick. This beer is exactly that to perfection. Hennepin is effervescent but complex, easy drinking but strong (7.7%), and so good it will leaving you pining for the glorious taste of horse blanket … which sounds gross to most, but those of you who get it, get it. And if you’re a city dweller who has never gotten out to the country and can’t understand why “fresh farmland” is awesome, I’m sorry for your loss 

Almost all of this review was taken from the Philadelphia Weekly and is used here with permission.